Wanna transform some plain canvas shoes from Target into retro-fab kicks, and then break them in by traipsing all over St. Augustine, Florida with me? Oh, goodie because that is exactly what I have on the docket for us today!
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would have never dared to tackle today’s project if it hadn’t been for Allison over at Dream a Little Bigger.
Do you know Allison? If not, you should! She is one of the most creative, out-of-the-box, and innovative crafters I have ever encountered in blogland…as well as one of the most prolific. I’m proud to call her a friend! Plus, she loves cats and frequently features them in her posts, so that’s an automatic IN for me. We actually exchanged guest posts last year; do you recall the gorgeous Gold Shoe Makeover she shared with y’all?
Speaking of shoes, I have dubbed Ms. Allison the Queen of Shoe Makeovers. I mean, the woman has over 60–yes, 60!–shoe makeovers under her belt. So of course, her crafty coronation was a no brainer. Click here to rummage through her shoe makeover gallery:
It was this very gallery of shoe makeover glory that inspired me to pick up a pair of gray canvas shoes at Target a few weeks ago with high hopes of giving them a makeover of my own.
And it was Queen Allison I emailed when I ran into my first road-bump.
You see, I had a vision for these shoes: I wanted to cover them in bright white triangles, totally retro-80s style because I just can’t get enough of that decade. However, my practice-run using a DIY foam stamp and some white fabric paint was a total fail.
So, the Queen gave me several suggestions for what I might try, one of them being to hand-draw my triangles using a fabric paint marker. And although I was nervous as all get-out that I would completely ruin my sneax in the process, I gave it a go. And you know what? It was totally do-able. Here’s how you can do it, too:
- 1 pair of canvas sneakers: I purchased a pair of Women’s Mossimo Supply Co. Layla Canvas Sneakers from Target in Dark Gray for $15.29.
- Deco Fabric Fine Point Tip Fabric Marker in White: I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby for $3.99; however, here it is on Amazon (affiliate link).
- Optional: white vinyl, shipping labels, or masking tape.
Step 1. Space out your design using stickers. I was really apprehensive about free-handing, so I rough-cut some triangles out of white vinyl and slapped them on my shoes to get a sense for spacing. White shipping labels or even masking tape could work in a pinch. This is really an optional step, but one I highly recommend!
Step 2. Practice! Now, I was really worried that the supposed “fine-tip” on my marker (which looked more like medium or large) was going to be tricky to work with, so I drew some test triangles inside the shoe; however in retrospect, I probably should have practiced on scrap canvas or blue jeans since the material would have been more similar. I actually had zero bleeding when it came to drawing on the outside of the shoe; much better than my practice!
Step 3. Draw those triangles…slow and steady. Even though my practice triangles were not looking promising, I decided to just throw caution to the wind and go for it. I started on the back of the shoe and quickly found my rhythm, and removed one triangle sticker at a time as I worked my way all of the way around. And then, onto shoe #2.
A few more tips n’ tricks I learned along the way:
- Start by drawing the outline of your triangle a bit smaller than it will end up; you can easily make it bigger (and correct any inequities in the shape as you go) whereas you cannot make a big triangle smaller. It seems obvious, but is oh so easy to forget.
- I did struggle sometimes to get sharp triangle points using the fabric paint marker I did because the tip was rounded; however I found that if I lightly lifted the marker up off the canvas as I drew my outline, I could achieve a decently sharp corner.
- Recognize that your triangles will be imperfect. They will not be equal, so don’t fixate on making them perfectly equal. Embrace their unique differences, and you’ll enjoy the process much more. No one will notice the differences anyway!
- Avoid going over seams or thread lines where possible. (I broke this rule a few times for aesthetics, but it definitely was trickier to maintain a clean triangle shape in those cases.)
- After your triangles have dried, go back over any that look like they need a second coat.
- If your marker starts to dry up, depress the tip on a piece of scrap fabric or paper a few times to re-coat the tip with fabric paint. But do a test triangle first to make sure you don’t accidentally release a huge blob of paint onto your shoe with your next mark!
- Take this on when you are not in a rush; enjoy the slow, but steady process of drawing your triangles, and you’ll find it therapeutic. I recommend background music, too! Perhaps a lil Pandora?
And that, my friends, is it! (Not half as intimidating as I first expected.) Thanks again to Queen Allison for her sage wisdom with this project, and helping me figure out how to see it through to completion!
Breaking ’em in!
And these shoes were made for walkin’, and that’s just what they did!
Yesterday, Mark and I took a day trip to St. Augustine since I have never been, and it was one of Mark’s favorite spots to visit as a kid; I also seized the opportunity to break in my new (and improved!) retro canvas shoes!
Here are some of the places my shoes journeyed yesterday:
And since there’s even more to the city of St. Augustine than the pretty pathways, here are some of the sights we saw, as captured in photos by myself and Mark:
Even though it was a scorcher, we had such a blast. And I can’t help but think that my revamped footwear gave me an extra skip in my step!
Dear reader, I hope you have a glorious weekend–one that perhaps involves exploring a new city or tackling a fun craft project. In fact, I’d love to know your weekend plans in the comments below. Or if you’ve been to St. Augustine before, what were your favorite parts of your visit? Anything we missed that we have to hit next time?
P.P.S. I rather enjoy linking up my projects to these parties.